Lawyers who represent car accident victims hear it all too often. I wish I had known this before my accident.
Do not drive in Florida without Uninsured Motorist insurance.
In too many cases the victim is in pain, loses their job because they can no longer work, the bills are piling up, and the attorney is forced to tell them there is nothing they can do because the at fault party has no insurance.
A 2017 study found that about one in eight drivers in Florida drives with no car insurance. Making matters worse, all that’s required to operate a vehicle on Florida roads is $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability.
If you’re ever involved in an accident with a driver who carries these minimum amounts of coverage and you sustain serious injuries you will regret not having purchased Uninsured Motorist Insurance. Uninsured Motorist Insurance pays you if your involved in a car accident and the at fault party a) does not have enough coverage or b) has no coverage at all.
Without this insurance, if you are ever seriously injured by one of these drivers, you will never get even close to the compensation you deserve and/or need to help get your life back to normal.
In addition, a lot of these individuals have no assets for you to collect from. Which makes it unrealistic to sue them. At the end of the day all you will have is a Judgement that says Defendant owes you $100,000.
Unless they hit the lottery or come into a huge sum of money the chances of you ever collecting on your judgment are not very high.
That is why you should not drive in Florida without Uninsured Motorist protection. So please call your insurance agent as soon as possible and ask about adding it to your policy.
To help explain how it all works the following is a list of different types of insurance coverage available for purchase through most insurance companies in Florida. They’ve been broken down into two groups. Those that pay you and those that pay others affected by the accident.
Insurance that pays you.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) (Required)
- UninsuredMotorist/Underinsured Motorist (Not required but you should purchase)
- Collision (Not required by Florida)
- Comprehensive (Not required by Florida)
Insurance that pays another person after an at fault accident.
5. Bodily Injury Liability
(Not required but you should
purchase read why below)
6. Property Damage Liability
Here is a brief overview of each and what they cover. For more details please ask your licensed insurance agent.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection is required in Florida and can be used to pay for your medical bills and lost wages. Personal Injury Protection pays for your damages no matter who is at fault for the accident.
This type of insurance reimburses 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000 and 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000.
After an accident ask the adjuster handling your file to set aside/reserve some of the PIP benefits for your lost wages if you know you are going to be unable to work.
In Florida with this type of insurance you need to seek medical treatment within 14 days or your insurance carrier has the right to deny you coverage. So it is very important that if your injured in a car accident you go to the hospital or see a doctor right away.
If you’ve been in a car accident but don’t know which doctor to go to or the doctor you want cannot see you within the 14 day time frame call me. I can help get you an appointment with a doctor.
Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist
This type of insurance is not required in Florida. The reason I lumped these together is because, in Florida, if you purchase uninsured you will also receive underinsured benefits. In other states you are required to purchase them separately.
Uninsured Motorist will pay for your medical bills, time missed from work, and pain and suffering after a car accident with an at fault party who failed to purchase Bodily Injury Liability. And because this benefit is grouped together it will also be available if the at fault party does not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages.
The reason why time missed from work/lost wages is in bold is because if you are unable to work after an accident this benefit becomes very important.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you get into an accident with a driver who has $10,000 in Bodily Injury Insurance and you have $50,000 in Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages/time off work total $60,000. You will be able to recover $10,000 from the PIP portion of your policy, $10,000 from the at fault drivers Bodily Injury Liability policy, and $40,000 from the Under Insured Motorist portion of your policy.
If the driver has no Bodily Injury insurance you would collect $50,000 from your Uninsured Motorist insurance instead of $40,000. You may be thinking I have health insurance so I should be fine.
Even if you have health insurance, again, Uninsured Motorist covers lost wages and pain and suffering which is crucial after a car accident if you’re are unable to work. That’s why it’s so important that you purchase Uninsured Motorist.
Without Uninsured Motorist you will need to figure out another way to pay for your living expenses and medical bills.
Stacked vs non-stacked. Depending on how much money you make you may want to consider getting stacked Uninsured Motorist. You should ask you licensed insurance agent which he or she believes is a better choice for your situation.
The difference between stacked and unstacked is as follows. If you have 2 cars with a stacked policy of $50,000 then you essentially have $100,000 of Uninsured Motorist coverage. If you have 3 cards you have $150,000 of coverage and the amount of coverage continues to “stack” according to the number of cars on the policy.
Unstacked means you only have $50,000 of coverage available. My suggestion is that you ask for the prices of both. Stacked policies are sometimes very expensive because of the way insurance companies calculate the risk.
This insurance will help you cover expenses to repair your vehicle if its been damaged in an accident. Florida does not require you to carry this insurance but most banks that provide you with a car loan or lease agreements will require that you to purchase this type of insurance.
Not required to be purchased in Florida. This coverage pays you to repair or replace your vehicle if it were vandalized or stolen.
Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily Injury Liability pays someone else injured in a car accident when the accident is your fault. Insurance companies will require you to purchase this insurance if you request Uninsured Motorist. And to be honest you should always have at least $10,000 of Bodily Injury insurance purchased.
It’s not required in Florida but if you do get into an accident without this insurance and a party suffers bodily injuries and/or damages, Florida will suspend your license for 3 years. If the other party gets a judgment against you, they will suspend your license for 20 years.
Try to purchase at least $10,000 in Bodily and $10,000 in Uninsured Motorist or more if you can afford to do so. Unfortunately, the amount of Uninsured Motorist coverage you can purchase is limited to the amount of Bodily Injury insurance you have purchased.
Insurance companies will fight on your behalf to avoid paying out the $10,000 in Bodily Injury benefits and if they do, they will require a signed release of liability which releases you from any future liability.
If you don’t purchase Bodily Injury insurance now and you end up injuring someone in an accident the State of Florida will require you to purchase it to have your drivers license reinstated and you will be required to file a certificate of financial responsibility with the State of form SR-22. The entire process is cumbersome and difficult to achieve. It’s best to avoid it at the outset.
Property Damage Liability
Florida requires a minimum of $10,000 in Property Damage liability. This insurance pays someone else for property damage sustained when the accident is your fault.